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Tyrone edge Armagh to win McKenna Cup as three sent off

Armagh 0-14 Tyrone 0-16

Tyrone's Declan McClure in action in the McKenna Cup final.
Tyrone's Declan McClure in action in the McKenna Cup final.
Bank of Ireland Dr. McKenna Cup Final, Athletic Grounds, Co. Armagh 19/1/2019 Armagh vs Tyrone Armagh's Rian O'Neill and Conan Grugan Tyrone Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Philip McGowan
Bank of Ireland Dr. McKenna Cup Final, Athletic Grounds, Co. Armagh 19/1/2019 Armagh vs Tyrone Tyrone's Declan McClure and Ryan McShane of Armagh Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Philip McGowan
Bank of Ireland Dr. McKenna Cup Final, Athletic Grounds, Co. Armagh 19/1/2019 Armagh vs Tyrone Tyrone's Aaron McKay and Rory Brennan of Armagh Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Philip McGowan
Bank of Ireland Dr. McKenna Cup Final, Athletic Grounds, Co. Armagh 19/1/2019 Armagh vs Tyrone Tyrone's Peter Harte and James Morgan of Armagh Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Philip McGowan
Declan Bogue

By Declan Bogue

With the GAA'S Central Council voting down the controversial and little-loved restriction on hand-passing there was a more familiar look about Saturday night's Bank of Ireland Dr McKenna Cup final.

Unfortunately for Armagh the flow of play was disturbingly familiar too.

After profiting from three successful dead ball conversions in the first eleven minutes they found themselves 0-4 to 0-1 up and looked to be up to the pitch of the game more than their neighbours.

However, only two more points followed from then as Tyrone, fielding a much-weakened starting side, showed that they are so much further down the road in terms of decision-making once the hectic start died down.

Five first-half pointed frees from Darren McCurry helped them along but Armagh could have little to complain about, having committed a total of 18 fouls in the first half alone, with four of the six starting defenders booked before half-time.

The second half was a rash of bust-ups and scores exchanged, with three red cards and two of those - Tyrone's Ronan McNamee and Armagh's Aaron McKay, continuing to fire shots at each other even after being red carded.

inpho_01480288.jpg
Tempers flare during the McKenna Cup final.

Armagh had a late chance to win it with a Rory Grugan penalty after Kieran McGeary touched the ball on the ground trying to clear it off the line, but Grugan's effort flew over the bar.

TYRONE: N Morgan 0-1f; C McLaughlin, R McNamee 0-1, L Rafferty; T McCann, A McCrory, M Cassidy; C Grugan, D McClure 0-1; N Sludden 0-2, R O'Neill, C McCann; D McCurry 0-9, 8f, P Harte, C McShane 0-2, 1'm'

Subs: C Meyler for C McCann, M Donnelly for Cassidy (both 43m), D Canavan for O'Neill (50m), K McGeary for Rafferty (50m), K Coney for Grugan (61m)

Yellow cards: C McCann (35), Rafferty (47), McGeary (56), Grugan (60)

Black cards: 0

Red cards: McNamee (68m)

ARMAGH: B Hughes; C Mackin, A McKay, J Morgan; R McCaughley, B Donaghy, G McCabe; S Sheridan, N Grimley 0-5, 4f, 1x'45'; J Hall, R Grugan 0-5, 4f, 0-1 Pen, R McShane; S Campbell 0-2, R O'Neill 0-1, J Clarke 0-1m

Subs: J Óg Burns for McShane, J McElroy for Donaghy (H-time), C Vernon for McCabe (50m), J Duffy for Clarke (60m), R McQuillan for Hall (63m)

Yellow cards: Mackin (4m), Morgan (26m), McKay (35m), McCabe (35m), O'Neill (47m), Hall (59m), Morgan (62m)

Black cards: 0

Red cards: Morgan (62m), McKay (68m)

Referee: Joe McQuillan (Cavan)

Attendance: 11,318

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